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Thursday, November 20, 2014

UN Wants Action - Authorizes Use of Naval Force to Stop the Charcoal Trade that Funds The Terrorist Group Al Shabab

Looks like the naval vessels operating off the Somali coast on piracy patrols under UN auspices will be tacking on a new mission: attempting to cut off a revenue stream of the Al Shabab terror thugs by interdicting charcoal shipments from Somalia.

You know, starting a naval embargo on Somali charcoal.

From Foreign Affairs and Tom Keatinge, "Black Market: How the Charcoal Trade Fuels Al Shabab":
To take out al Shabab, one need look no further than charcoal. The United Nations has repeatedly called for countries in the region to disrupt the group’s trade in this environmentally destructive product, but, as the most recent Somalia UN Monitoring Group report revealed, such efforts have been lackluster. And so, with its patience wearing thin, the UN has now taken matters into its own hands by approving a naval intervention.
Roopa Gogineni/Al Jazeera
According to the latest UN Monitoring Group report on Somalia, published in mid-October, the charcoal trade continues at a rate consistent with prior years. Until Barawe was lost in October, al Shabab still loaded and exported charcoal from the port. And even today, traders and brokers continue to facilitate “systemic violations” of the UN-mandated ban, and Somali charcoal continues to show up in Gulf Cooperation Council markets. All in all, the report noted, al Shabab’s continued survival is secured by its trade operations, the cornerstone of which remains the charcoal trade.

Days after the report was issued, the Security Council passed Resolution 2182, authorizing the use of naval force to disrupt the trade. If trade hubs in the Gulf region will not stop the trade, it seems, the warships of the Combined Maritime Forces, a 30-nation naval partnership that patrols the region to deter piracy will have to do the work for them. It is too soon to tell if the new mission is tightening the screws on al Shabab. If it works, though, it will signal a new era in the war against the terrorist group.
The "legislative history" of UN Resolution 2182 here:
As regards the charcoal ban, in place since 2012, the Council authorized States, for a 12-month period, to inspect vessels in territorial waters and on the high seas which they had “reasonable grounds” to believe were carrying charcoal from Somalia, in violation of that ban, or weapons or military equipment, in violation of the arms embargo. States were authorized to seize and dispose of any prohibited items. Such authorizations applied only with respect to the situation in Somalia, the Council said, deciding to review those measures after six months.
I figure that each ship involved should be able to paint a "bag" of charcoal on the bridge wing for every successful interdiction. Just slap a Kingsford bag image up there. 5 bags makes the ship a "charcoal" ace.

Here's the language of 2182's pertinent part:
Maritime interdiction of charcoal and arms

“11. Reaffirms the ban on the import and export of Somali charcoal, as set out in paragraph 22 of resolution 2036 (2012) (“the charcoal ban”), and reiterates that the Somali authorities shall take the necessary measures to prevent the export of charcoal from Somalia and reiterates its requests in paragraph 18 of resolution 2111 (2013),that AMISOM support and assist the Somali authorities in doing so, as part of AMISOM’s implementation of its mandate set out in paragraph 1 of resolution 2093,

“12. Condemns the ongoing export of charcoal from Somalia, in violation of the total ban on the export of charcoal from Somalia reaffirmed above;
Potential charcoal interdiction force

“13. Urges all Member States, including those contributing AMISOM police and troop contingents, to respect and implement their obligations to prevent the direct or indirect import of charcoal from Somalia, whether or not such charcoal originated in Somalia, as set out in paragraph 22 of resolution 2036 (2002), and affirms this includes taking the necessary measures to prevent the use of their flag vessels for such importing;

“14. Condemns the flow of weapons and military equipment to Al Shabaab and other armed groups which are not part of the security forces of the Federal Government of Somalia, and expresses serious concern at the destabilizing impact of such weapons;

“15. Authorizes for a period of 12 months from the date of this resolution Member States, acting nationally or through voluntary multinational naval partnerships, such as ‘Combined Maritime Forces’, in cooperation with the FGS and which the FGS has notified to the Secretary-General and which the Secretary-General has subsequently notified to all Member States, in order to ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo on Somalia and the charcoal ban, to inspect, without undue delay, in Somali territorial waters and on the high seas off the coast of Somalia extending to and including the Arabian sea and Persian Gulf, vessels bound to or from Somalia which they have reasonable grounds to believe are:
(i) Carrying charcoal from Somalia in violation of the charcoal ban;

(ii) carrying weapons or military equipment to Somalia, directly or indirectly, in violation of the arms embargo on Somalia;

(iii) carrying weapons or military equipment to individuals or entities designated by the Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009);

“16. Calls upon all Flag States of such vessels to cooperate with such inspections, requests Member States to make good-faith efforts to first seek the consent of the vessel’s Flag State prior to any inspections pursuant to paragraph 15, authorizes Member States conducting inspections pursuant to paragraph 15 to use all necessary measures commensurate with the circumstances to carry out such inspections and in full compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as may be applicable, and urges Member States conducting such inspections to do so without causing undue delay to or undue interference with the exercise of the right of innocent passage or freedom of navigation;

“17. Authorizes Member States to seize and dispose of (such as through destruction, rendering inoperable or unusable, storage, or transferring to a State other than the originating or destination States for disposal) any items identified in inspections pursuant to paragraph 15, the delivery, import or export of which is prohibited by the arms embargo on Somalia or the charcoal ban, authorizes Member States to collect evidence directly related to the carriage of such items in the course of such inspections, and decides that charcoal seized in accordance with this paragraph may be disposed of through resale which shall be monitored by the SEMG;

“18. Emphasizes the importance of all Member States, including Somalia, taking the necessary measures to ensure that no claim shall lie at the instance of Somalia, or of any person or entity in Somalia, or of persons or entities designated for measures set out in resolutions 1844 (2008), 2002 (2011), or 2093 (2013), or any person claiming through or for the benefit of any such person or entity, in connection with any contract or other transaction where its performance was prevented by reason of the measures imposed by this resolution or previous resolutions;

“19. Requests Member States to dispose of any charcoal, weapons or military equipment seized pursuant to paragraph 17, in an environmentally responsible manner, taking into account the United Nations Environment Programme’s 4 September 2013 letter to the Chair of the Committee, and the Committee’s 7 May 2014 “Implementation Assistance Notice”, calls upon all Member States in the region to cooperate in the disposal of such charcoal, weapons or military equipment, affirms that the authorization provided for in paragraph 15 includes the authority to divert vessels and their crews, to a suitable port to facilitate such disposal, with the consent of the port State, affirms that the authorization in paragraph 15 includes the authority to use all necessary measures to seize items pursuant to paragraph 17 in the course of inspections and decides that any Member State cooperating in the disposal of items identified in inspections pursuant to paragraph 15, the delivery, import or export of which is prohibited by the arms embargo on Somalia or the charcoal ban, shall provide a written report to the Committee no later than 30 days after such items enter its territory on the steps taken to dispose or destroy them;

“20. Decides that any Member State that undertakes an inspection pursuant to paragraph 15, shall promptly notify the Committee and submit a report on the inspection containing all relevant details, including an explanation of the grounds for and the results of the inspection and where possible including the flag of the vessel, the name of the vessel, the name and identifying information of the master of the vessel, the owner of the vessel, and the original seller of the cargo, and efforts made to seek the consent of the vessel’s Flag State, requests the Committee to notify the Flag State of the inspected vessel that an inspection has been undertaken, notes the prerogative of any Member State to write to the Committee concerning the implementation of any aspect of this resolution, and further encourages the SEMG to share relevant information with Member States operating under the authorization set out in this resolution;

“21. Affirms that the authorizations provided in this resolution apply only with respect to the situation in Somalia and shall not affect the rights or obligations or responsibilities of Member States under international law, including any rights or obligations under UNCLOS, including the general principle of exclusive jurisdiction of a Flag State over its vessels on the high seas, with respect to any other situation, underscores in particular that this resolution shall not be considered as establishing customary international law, and notes further that such authorizations have been provided only following the receipt of the 8 October 2014 letter conveying the request of the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia;

“22. Decides to review after six months from the date of this resolution, the provisions set out in paragraphs 11 to 21 above;
I have no idea what an "environmentally responsible manner" method of getting rid of charcoal is. Unless using it to grill hamburgers is okay.

All the highlights are my doing.

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